France’s Ligue Nationale de Rugby cancels Canal Plus rights deal

France’s Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR), the league body that operates the country's top-tier Top 14 and second-tier ProD2 rugby union divisions, has curtailed a rights deal with pay-television broadcaster Canal Plus and announced the launch of a new domestic rights tender.

The LNR has activated a cancellation clause in its five-year agreement with Canal Plus, from 2011-12 to 2015-16. The deal is worth €31.7m ($43m) per year, but the league believes it can secure a more lucrative rights fee.

The new tender will cover the top two divisions and will run for four seasons, from 2014-15 to 2017-18.

Canal Plus will retain its rights until the end of the 2013-14 season.

The league opted to announce its decision on Monday night, a day earlier than originally planned, to dispel rumours that it had retained Canal Plus as a rights-holder. The LNR had until December 31 to activate the cancellation clause.